Archive for December, 2011

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  335

RAC:  No

Alex Patrick is date-raped after a night of drinking and partying.  She wakes up with no recollection of the night before, but quickly realizes how serious her situation is.  Her friends coax the news out of her and convince her that if she was not conscious she could not have consented, but Alex is reluctant to go to police or the boarding school administration because they have failed students on serious issues in the past.  She decides to seek the help of the student run justice system called “The Mockingbirds.”  They agree to try the case and things get complicated when the accused vehemently denies any wrongdoing and proceeds to spread vicious rumors about her.  Alex begins to wonder if she somehow led him on or was at fault in some way.  Does she have the strength to stand up for herself?

This book discusses a very serious issue in an open and honest way.  Alex’s flashbacks to that night help slowly piece together what happened and shed light on her mixed feelings regarding pressing charges.  Her friends and supporters help her overcome obstacles, such as eating in the cafeteria again, and slowly she begins to find the strength she needs.  The book is very frank about the nature of the crime and might be upsetting to some students, but it contains an important message and the student justice system is entertaining.

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The Death Cure by James Dashner

Genre:  Science Fiction

323 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Thomas is back in the third and final installment of The Maze Runner series.  Thomas begins in solitary confinement where he is tortured for several weeks before he is told what the final plan for WICKED will be.  He is reunited with the friends that are still alive, but the organization wants to give them their memories back and he believes this is somehow a trap.  He refuses and must escape with Minho and Newt.  Once they escape to the real world they find that the Flare is much more advanced than they realized and worry that it will be impossible to find a cure in time to save mankind.  When WICKED informs Thomas he must turn himself in for one final test in order to save the human race he reluctantly agrees, but what is he agreeing to?

Much like the rest of this series, there are many twists and turns and no easy answers.  The characters act with bravery and fear to help them navigate these difficult situations.  Readers will learn more about the truth behind WICKED’s evil plans, but not everything is revealed and that is okay because readers know enough to piece together what happened before the series began.  The ending is believable, acceptable, and satisfying without going over the top.  The finale of this trilogy is so strong is makes the first two novels even stronger, which is a feat in itself.

Crossed by Ally Condie

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  367

RAC Book:  Yes

In this sequel to Matched Cassia is trying to find Ky by getting herself sent to the outer provinces as an abberation.  Of course, she is an actual citizen, but is willing to jeopardize her citizenship status for true love.  Ky has been fighting the attack on the Society for some time and has seen many people die around him.  One day he decides to run for his freedom and takes two friends with him.  Cassia arrives at the outer provinces to discover that Ky is gone or possibly dead, but she never loses hope.  Instead, she tries to follow where she believes he might have gone in the hopes of finding him and the rebel organization fighting the Society.  The journey is very difficult and some of the lies she was told by the Society threaten her life out in the wild.  Can Ky and Cassie find each other against all odds?  If they do find each other will they be able to rekindle the spark they once had or will their future goals pull them apart?

This installment of the story moves very slow and leaves many questions unanswered, which could frustrate the readers.  Cassia does learn a few things about Ky’s past and the truth surrounding the attack on the Society that they do not want citizens to know about.  However, there are still many things left unmentioned and favorite characters either don’t appear at all or only for short instances.  The ending was intriguing, but ambiguous and after the long journey it took to get there readers should expect more.  Hopefully readers will be intrigued enough by Cassia’s overall journey to keep reading after this, but the lack of answers in this book might make them question how forthcoming the third book will be with answers.

The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  266

RAC Book:  Yes

Gaby lost her husband three years prior to the start of the book and hasn’t seen her kids all together for the holidays since.  This year she sends out a video message announcing that she is getting married on Christmas Day and won’t announce who the groom is, so they better all be there.  Her kids are battling different tough issues.  Claire, is married with three kids.  Her husband is a bum who uses recreational drugs and occasionally abuses her.  Lizzie’s husband has Cancer and is struggling to deal with his many appointments and seizures.  Seth is a struggling writer who is desperately trying to get a book published so he can marry his long time girlfriend.  Finally, Emily is a workaholic lawyer in a firm who doesn’t fully appreciate her and her boss keeps trying to hit on her.  They are all happy and intrigued by their mother’s announcement, but are worried about their own lives at the moment.  Can they all come together for the holiday and their mother’s big wedding?

This is a fun, lighthearted and fast paced Christmas story.  There are some tough issues like domestic abuse and drug use, as well as some tough language at times, but the overall positive message of the story and the power of family makes the story fun and heartwarming at the same time.  Recommended for readers looking for a fun holiday read.